Monday, 28 July 2014

Pembrokeshire - Days three and four

Day three took us to Narberth in the day, the weather was utterly foul so I didn't take my camera with me. After starting off in a cafe for some tea we trawled around the shops, I bought some artwork for my future kitchen. After going back to the cottage and having a swim we headed down to the coast with the intention of finding somewhere to fish. However, when we got there it was just too wet and windy to stay out for long without getting completely drenched. 

Standing here to take these photos got me soaked through, my peach coloured trousers ended up being transparent...

After leaving Amroth we drove down the coast to Saundersfoot for a wander around.

One of my favorite views ever, looking to Monkstone Point

After getting back to the cottage we had a glass of wine or two and either read (I got through three books over the course of the week) or watched TV. It was peaceful and relaxing...until we discovered that we'd been visited by the local wildlife.

One of the bedroom windows had been left open and this little dude got in, cue utter panic. I hate bats. I don't know why, it's irrational but I can't stand being around them. My dad ended up shutting himself in my parent's bedroom in order to contain it and try and get it out, despite everything being a bit panicked it was hilarious with my mother and I howling with laughter at my dad's attempts to get the bat out. His efforts were successful in the end and he was safely restored to his natural environment...we didn't leave the windows open after that.

Day four saw us head off to Manorbier and then down the coast to Freshwater West. Manorbier is another favourite place of mine, after winding through the village you're faced with the castle and then a wonderful view of the sea.

Can't go to the beach and not wade through rock pools.


 The hill above Freshwater West (home to Dobby's grave for those Harry Potter fans amongst you) was covered in cows, they posed brilliantly.

Between Manorbier and Freshwater West we had popped into Pembroke's Tesco so I could buy a pair of shorts, I needed to be able to paddle without fear of getting my clothes wet.


In the evening we went back to Amroth for dinner followed by fishing, catching nothing...again.


Sunday, 27 July 2014

What I'm thankful for #10

Manorbier <3 td="">

Having choices
Working somewhere that looks after its employees
Fleeting feelings of bravery 


Saturday, 26 July 2014

Pembrokeshire - Days one and two

Last week I spent the week in Carmarthenshire/Pembrokeshire with my family on a much needed break away. We stayed in a cottage on Cilpost Farm just outside Whitland but spent everyday in Pembrokeshire, which outside of Cardiff is my absolute favourite place in the whole world. I've been to places like the Maldives, the south of France and Dubai on holidays in the past but I'd honestly rather go to Pembrokeshire for a week or two. 

After nearly two hours driving it was time to kick off my shoes...they wouldn't stay this white for the rest of the week.

On Sunday we headed to St Davids after passing through Solva and finding these babies. I now want an alpaca.

St Davids has some very pretty streets.

Never one to pass up an indie book shop, I spent ages in here considering it's tiny.

After having a wander around the city we drove down to Whitesands Bay, my favourite beach in Pembrokeshire. The storms we had over the winter have exposed a petrified forest.

I wasn't dressed for swimming but so badly wanted to go in the sea, I had to make do with a bit of a paddle.


Friday, 18 July 2014

Dubai Holiday Planning Part 2 - Nat's List

After weeks of (ahem) gentle reminders from Cheryl I have finally sat down to write my half of the bucket list for our forthcoming trip to Dubai. I seriously cannot adequately express how excited I am to be going! Technically I have been to Dubai before, but I don’t think a lay-over in the airport can legitimately be counted as experiencing the real Dubai. I’ll be honest, it’s not a place that I’d ever particularly thought about visiting. As something of a culture vulture I was put off by Dubai's ultra-modernity, and seeming lack of history. It wasn’t until Cheryl suggested the trip, and I really started researching the city, that I realised that Dubai is FULL of culture; I just needed to readjust my understanding of the word. Dubai has grown inexorably in a single generation from a sleepy port, to one world’s richest cities and fastest moving metropolises, and has a lot to offer a curious visitor.

Cheryl has already (brilliantly) covered a few of the main sights I’m looking forward to experiencing, including the Burj Khalifa and desert safari. I’d thought I share with you a few more of the experiences I’m most looking forward to whilst visiting “The City of Gold”.  

The Beaches
I’m not usually a beach holiday kinda gal (I can only manage a couple of days before my mind feels like it’s going into atrophy), but Dubai has some of the most beautiful beaches imaginable. Many of the beaches are owned by the hotels they’re adjacent to, but there are a few public beaches available to non-hotel users. The jewel in the crown is the Jumeirah Beach Park, a blue flag beach in the popular Jumeirah area of the city. This stretch of paradise overlooks the Arabian Gulf, making the water a balmy 32 degrees Celsius. It also boast beautifully manicured gardens, BBQ facilities, and volleyball courts. I’m mainly looking forward to simply relaxing in the sunshine, catching up on my reading, and enjoying the crystal blue waters of the Gulf. I just need to remember to pack the Factor 50 and my hat!

The Food
Food food food food food. Who doesn't love good food? I am a HUGE foodie, which is slightly depressing at the moment as I am currently on a healthy eating and exercise kick to ensure I can fit into my wedding dress next July (of which Cheryl is my more than capable bridesmaid). However, when it comes to Dubai I fully intend to sample all the delights of the local cuisine, including schwarma, lamb machboos and ta'amia (falafel to you and me). I'm hoping this will be part of the Desert Safari Cheryl covered in her Dubai blog, as I fully intend to eat cous cous and houmous whilst under the Arabian sky! I understand Dubai also boasts some of the world's best international restaurants, including many popular American restaurants not currently available in the UK; including The Cheesecake Factory (cue Big Bang Theory geekout), IHOP and PF Chang. Cheryl tells me these aren't to be missed. Bang goes the diet!

However the gastronomic delight I'm most looking forward to is afternoon tea, either at the Al Fayrooz Lounge (at the Jumeirah) or AT.MOSPHERE (at the Burj Khalifa). AT.MOSPHERE has possibly the most impressive view of anywhere in Dubai , towering 1450 feet above ground level, and is certainly not for the faint hearted! Afternoon tea is one of my favourite treats, and I think it'll be magical to be transported to a world of sumptuousness and elegance for an afternoon. Perhaps I'm imagining the majesty of Laurence of Arabia a little too much, but a girl is allowed her fantasies!

Boat Trip around the Marina
I love boats. There's nothing better than the feeling of the wind in your face and the taste of salt on your lip. Therefore high on my list Yellow Boat tours which regularly run around Dubai Marina, the Palm Jumeirah and Burj Al Arab. This 90 minute journey costs 280AED (about £45), and will, undoubtedly, be a photographer's dream. We'll be able to get an intimate view of skyscrapers that Dubai is famed for around the world, and hopefully get some insider's knowledge as to the cities past, and it's future. 

Sheikh Saeed Al Maktoum’s House 
This was built in 1896 by Sheikh Maktoum bin Hasher al-Maktoum (grandfather of current Dubai ruler Sheikh Mohammed) and was home to the ruling family until Sheikh Saeed’s death in 1958. As well as being architecturally beautiful, the building is a reminder of life in Dubai pre-oil, and has an extensive collection of photographs of Dubai taken in the 1940s and ‘50s. With all the modernity of Dubai it’s these little enclaves of traditional history that I will cherish most. They serve as a reminder of Dubai’s ancient earthen roots in a city now constructed of glass and air.

Natalie has her own blog, and occasionally remembers to update it. You can visit it here

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